Effect of aromatherapy with orange essential oil on salivary cortisol and pulse rate in children during dental treatment: A randomized controlled clinical trial


1 Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Torabinezad Dental Research Center, Isfahan, Iran

2 Child Psychiatrist, Behavioral Research center (BSRC), Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

3 School of Dentistry, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: Essential oils have been used as an alternative and complementary treatment in medicine. Citrus fragrance has been used by aromatherapists for the treatment of anxiety symptoms. Based on this claim, the aim of present study was to investigate the effect of aromatherapy with essential oil of orange on child anxiety during dental treatment.
Materials and Methods: Thirty children (10 boys, 20 girls) aged 6-9 years participated in a crossover intervention study, according to the inclusion criteria, among patients who attended the pediatric department of Isfahan Dental School in 2011. Every child underwent two dental treatment appointments including dental prophylaxis and fissure-sealant therapy under orange aroma in one session (intervention) and without any aroma (control) in another one. Child anxiety level was measured using salivary cortisol and pulse rate before and after treatment in each visit. The data were analyzed using t-test by SPSS software version 18.
Results: The mean ± SD and mean difference of salivary cortisol levels and pulse rate were calculated in each group before and completion of treatment in each visit. The difference in means of salivary cortisol and pulse rate between treatment under orange odor and treatment without aroma was 1.047 ± 2.198 nmol/l and 6.73 ± 12.3 (in minutes), which was statistically significant using paired t-test (P = 0.014, P = 0.005, respectively).
Conclusion: It seems that the use of aromatherapy with natural essential oil of orange could reduce salivary cortisol and pulse rate due to child anxiety state.


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